It’s pretty rare these days to encounter someone who is comprised of a single ethnic line. With the popularity of DNA analysis kits, most of us have found out that we are multi-ethnic.
Though it is obvious that I am of mixed heritage, I went through most of my life assuming that my paternal lineage was 100% eastern European. DNA summaries from both 23andme and Ancestry.com told me otherwise. I found out that though my paternal bloodline is mostly Hungarian, with a touch of Balkan, I also have a bit of Italian, German and French in my DNA. My mother’s side is 100% Japanese, which I definitely expected.
There are people like me whose multi-ethnicity is obvious, where you can look at them and see that something is different. Our faces are dead giveaways. I still get a kick out of the fact that some people tell me they don’t see any Asian features, while other people know upon first glance that I have Asian blood. After all, I am more Japanese (50%) than anything else. The epicanthic fold which is so characteristic of Asian eyes is something I possess, and because of it, I can never pencil in a fully lined eye shape. It’s a constant reminder of my Japanese heritage.
Ethnic blending is not only more commonplace, but it is also celebrated more than ever before. What is puzzling is that our need to categorize can often stand in the way of making a pure, empiric assessment of someone who is multiethnic. Jamin Halberstadt speaks of “processing fluency” in multiethnic faces, but his research only examined blended faces created from two individuals, one Chinese and one Caucasian. He states that “racial ambiguity” can render a face less attractive if the viewer must suddenly categorize a blended face into one race.
How do multiethnic individuals identify with their surroundings, and how do they define themselves racially? It turns out there are differences which depend on the particular ethnic mix. As someone who struggles with checking off one ethnicity box on surveys, when push comes to shove, I categorize myself as Asian since 1. I have more Asian blood than any other, and 2. My primary parent, my mother, is Japanese and colored my upbringing with the nuances that a second generation Japanese-American from Hawaii naturally possessed. I can also tell you that by identifying with my Japanese-ness, I was teased and bullied by my very Caucasian classmates who only saw that I was different from them, and therefore, somehow inferior. I almost had to make sure I could blend in at least somewhat just to survive.
According to the Multiracial in America by Parker, et al, I guess I was behaving appropriately:
“…experiences and attitudes differ significantly depending on the races that make up their background and how the world sees them. For example, multiracial adults with a black background—69% of whom say most people would view them as black or African American—have a set of experiences, attitudes and social interactions that are much more closely aligned with the black community. A different pattern emerges among multiracial Asian adults; biracial white and Asian adults feel more closely connected to whites than to Asians.”
Regardless of how I and many other multiracial individuals have been forced to identify with one ethnic community, I am very proud of my Japanese heritage, and will always defend it, especially when someone is quick to fling disparaging comments my way simply because I’m not “pure”. The segment of the global population which is considered pure is growing smaller and smaller, and ethnic blending is accelerating whether people like it or not!
Over two decades ago, my first seemingly dreamy and unattainable goal was to be involved in a yearly Japanese-American festival in Los Angeles known as Nisei Week, which was established back in 1934. Aside from a period of seven years between 1942 and 1948, during which World War II raged and carried a solid and jarring impact on the Japanese-American community, the Nisei Week festival has continued to run throughout the decades.
As a child, I remember seeing the Nisei Week Queen and court each year, and it became a dream of mine to be selected as a court member when I got older. However, I got sidetracked by life and didn’t bother to enter the competition for the local queen selection until the year I turned 25. I was stunned when I was chosen as the Queen of my community center (the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, or SFVJACC) for that year.
Once I was selected, I spent the next three months in regular meetings with the queens from the other eight participating communities, meetings in which we would practice all the routines for the beauty pageant which would mark the beginning of that year’s Nisei Week. We competed in that pageant for over 1,000 audience members in a 3 hour event, and though I didn’t win the Nisei Week Queen title, I was happy with being a Nisei Week Princess. We rode on floats, visited businesses, and fostered good will throughout the Japanese-American community.
When we were on stage, on parade floats, and on visitations, we would wear our sashes, a definite marker which identified us all as queen and court. On some occasions, we would wear our crowns, and were either clad in matching dresses, or in kimono.
Queen? Princess? I guess so, at least in pageant terms!
Here’s another informative article by Sheila Olson
just in time for the new year! fitsheila.com
Drastic diets and torturous exercise classes don’t work for long-term weight loss, and these days, we know why. In part, this is because depriving ourselves of things we love is not healthy or sustainable. Instead, we should all try to approach weight loss through wellness-focusedactions and self-care. Here’s how to do that.
The best kind of exercise is the one you actually do. This means that finding an exercise routine that’s both fun and convenient is crucial for long-term weight loss.
A home gym can be a great way to do this -check out this guide by HomeAdvisor to figure out the best exercise equipment for you and where to place it. If exercise is enjoyable and accessible, you have no excuse to avoid it. If you do still find yourself skipping workouts, try asking yourself these questions to find out why.
Sleep is what allows your mind and body to relax, refresh, and prepare for a new day. What few people know is that a lack of good sleep can also lead to weight gain by messing with your hormones and stress levels.
Set up a nightly “good sleep” routine. It should be soothing and relaxing, making your body and mind feel ready for rest. You should also avoid digital screens in the hours leading up to your bedtime, as these may be negatively impacting your sleep.
Weight loss happens in the kitchen, not the gym. Ourbodies aren’t that effective at burning off calories we consume, so it’s unrealistic to expect exercise to do all the work when our diet remains unchanged.
However, we also need to remember that food is wonderful and useful. It is not the enemy. We have learned to classify certain foods as “good” or “bad,” but this creates an unhealthy relationship with nutrition. This article by Well and Good has some great tips for getting rid of this mindset and finding balance in our diets.
Many of us tend to forget the importance of health, both physical and mental, when trying to lose weight. By focusing onhealthy habits rather than the numbers on a scale, we shift our attention to our internal well-being rather than external appearance. In the proces, weight loss becomes a consequence of a healthy lifestyle rather than the driving reason for having one.
I’m a natural skeptic. Part of that skepticism comes from my innate need to gather facts, investigate their source, and determine what is legitimate and what isn’t. As a result, I have always been interested in the sciences, so much so that I ended up immersing myself in fact-checking by becoming a physician. So when I partnered up with a company called Maximum Slim to promote their Noa’s Choice Organic Maximum Hair Growth Healing Ayurveda Formula, I thought, fine, I’ll do it, but I am going to be very honest about my personal experience with the product.
Since I have very thick, healthy, Eurasian hair which grows rather quickly and which cascades all the way down my back, I figured that I wouldn’t use this formula to promote hair growth or treat split ends. Instead, I chose to treat the angry, persistent, dry, itchy scalp condition which has been plaguing me for the last 7 or 8 weeks. This condition has been so severe and resistant to treatments like Nizoral, hair masks, pyrithione zinc, and salicylic acid. So I decided to use the Organic Maximum Hair Growth Healing Ayurveda Formula on my scalp to see if I might get even a bit of relief.
I placed about 22 drops into a dish and heated it, then massaged the oil into my scalp. I then waited for two hours, and washed my hair with a gentle shampoo. Well, goodness gracious, this magical elixir eliminated the flaky scalp condition COMPLETELY. I honestly didn’t expect that dramatic a response, but that’s what I got.
Noa’s Choice Organic Maximum Hair Growth Healing Ayurveda Formula contains all natural ingredients which are proven to promote healthy scalp, and stimulate hair growth. Brahmi leaves, amla fruit, black castor oil, hemp, fenugreek, and coconut oil are combined in a very potent elixir indeed.
There are two notes which I would like to make on this product:
1. It has a food-like smell, probably from the fenugreek seeds, which reminded me very much of cumin. I felt like I should be making meatballs, since I use cumin in most of my ground beef dishes. I don’t think this will be an issue for anyone though, because in all likelihood, you will be at home when you use that product.
2. The directions on the label state to use 4 or 5 drops on the scalp, but if you are treating your entire scalp, I would recommend a greater quantity. I used 22 drops on my scalp, and even then, I concentrated on my hairline, which was where the condition was the most severe. I think if you treat your entire scalp, you should be using about 40 to 50 drops. Make sure to massage into scalp for several minutes to allow the elixir to penetrate fully.
3. I think this product would be an excellent split end treatment, but I always tell people who have a lot of split ends that unless they just get those ends trimmed, they will constantly be chasing the problem. I would almost rather advise people to cut those split ends, and if the ends are DRY but not SPLIT, to use this oil as a preventative treatment.
Though I am part of a paid partnership with Maximum Slim, I am honestly so pleased with the results from the treatment I did that I will happily promote this product to others.
To order this amazing product, go to:
Yesterday I turned 52. It just blows my mind that I have been around for more than a half-century now, because I simply don’t feel that old. I know when my mother hit 50, I thought she was ancient. And yet, here I am, over 50 and feeling like someone in her early 30’s.
Let’s be real though. My fingers, elbows, and neck ache from arthritis which has crept upon me over the past few years. My skin sags in places it never did before. My neck is beginning to resemble a Shar-pei (you can even see the folds in the headshot here). And though I am the same weight I was when I was competing, and still hitting the gym six days a week, my body proportions are shifting in such a way that clothing items I have had for a while fit differently.
Before you tell me to quit my whining, please understand that everything is relative, and because I still participate in very image-driven industries (modeling and fitness), I hold myself to a certain standard which is beginning to elude my grasp. I have had to change my angles while shooting to accommodate the changes in my physique. Modeling had forced me to come to terms with my ever-aging physical form, and it’s been pretty brutal.
I experienced a major wake-up call last month, when I was going through items in my wardrobe for a four day photo shoot. As I tried on bikinis and dresses, I realized that several items either didn’t sit well on my body, or just flat out didn’t look good on me. It was incredibly frustrating, especially since some of the pieces I tried on had never been worn before and were purchased specifically for photo shoots. I just assumed that my body wouldn’t make the micro techtonic shifts it had. My waistline is ever so slightly larger, my hips wider, and my glutes are slowly deflating, just enough to make a bikini which once looked all right look like a high school hand-me-down.
As a 52 year old woman, I am more concerned than ever about the progression of my medical career, and have thrown new challenges at myself to make me a better practitioner. I’ve been thinking more about what will happen when I reach retirement age, and how I will manage financially. And though I have always been in excellent health, I am often struck with thoughts of “What if something happens to me?”, and “How will I die?”, both of which may sound like morbid thoughts, but I regard them as necessary.
My parents are in their 80’s and of course they will eventually pass on. Both of them mention how disappointed they are in me for not giving them grandchildren, as if it was my filial duty to do so. It irks me to no end, but I also feel pangs of guilt whenever I am berated by them. It’s not like I was trying to defy them by remaining childless. And now that the window of opportunity is forever closed for me, I wonder why I wasn’t meant to have children.
Although 50 may be the new 30, it still marks 50-plus years of life experience. And since there is more societal pressure to be more dynamic and more successful, hitting one’s 50’s can be downright depressing. For all of you over 50, HANG IN THERE!
If you are looking for that fire which will encourage you to reach out towards your fitness, wellness and life goals, then be sure to tune into the motivating, inspiring podcasts at https://micro.fit/ where the motto is, “For big results, think small”. That’s right…small changes in your lifestyle can create dramatic results in your life!
I am honored to be one of the featured podcasters for this wonderful app! My podcast runs on Fridays, so be sure to check it out each week for new topics and fresh perspectives on life balance, goal setting, motivation and fulfillment.
Click on this link to access the podcast page directly: